There Will Be Sammiches
This Saturday I’m hosting the first-ever Make Me a Sammich Meet-up. It’s going to be a purely social event with no agenda (not even a little one*), just a great view from Seattle’s Jefferson Park, good company, and, of course, sammiches.
I know it’s short notice, but if you live in or around Seattle, I hope you can join me. I’ll have some goodies to give away.
And did I mention sammiches?
As I wrote last night, I participated in Occupy Seattle, and I continue to occupy in my own ways (this blog among them). I met a lot of different kinds of people, and some of them had extreme ideas that I understood but wasn’t really ready to buy into. Among these were the Anarchists. Now, to start with, I want to clarify that when I say “the Anarchists” I am not lumping anyone together with anyone else, I’m just saying that I met people who self-identified as Anarchists. And I want to make sure you understand that the people who dressed in black and broke windows were almost certainly different “Anarchists” from the ones I’m going to talk about (if the vandals self-identified as Anarchists at all). Like Feminism or any other group, Anarchism doesn’t operate as a unit. There are many shades and definitions. And all that said, I’d have to say that I’m not an Anarchist. Yet.
But that doesn’t matter at all, because people are being imprisoned for the crime of not speaking. In Leah-Lynn Plante’s case, the official charge is “civil contempt,” meaning she didn’t cooperate with the Grand Jury convened to get to the bottom of all her Anarchist literature, artwork, clothing, and beliefs.
Natasha Lennard writes in Salon:
“Writing for Truth-Out in August about the Northwest grand juries and those resisting cooperation, I noted that grand juries “are among the blackest boxes in the federal judiciary system.” The closed-door procedures are rare instances in which an individual loses the right to remain silent. As was the case with the Northwest grand juries resistors, the grand jury can grant a subpoenaed individual personal immunity; Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination are therefore protected, but silence is not. In these instances, refusal to speak can be considered civil contempt. Non-cooperators can be jailed for the 18-month length of the grand jury.”
Watch Leah’s video explaining her position and her readiness to go to prison:
You might not agree with her ideals or her lifestyle, but Leah-Lynn Plante’s only crime is refusal to cooperate with an investigation into those ideals by government she doesn’t recognize as operating in the her best interests or those of her fellow citizens–i.e., Leah is currently imprisoned for remaining silent and will very likely remain incarcerated for the next 18 months. Commenters on various websites miss the point when they ask, “Why not cooperate if you have nothing to hide?” Perhaps it will crystallize when a Grand Jury convenes to investigate their DVD collection.
I’m not an Anarchist, but I believe a person should be charged with a crime before an army of police invades their house and takes their stuff. I believe that a person should be found guilty of a crime before the government imprisons them. And I believe that Leah-Lynne Plante has the right to remain silent.
I’ll leave you with this famous quote from Martin Niemöller (1892–1984):
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
A year ago this month (October 4, 2011) I was among about 300 people who showed up to occupy Westlake Center in Seattle. That night I was among the 40 or so who resolved to consummate our occupation by camping overnight there on the concrete, some of us with only a thin blanket dropped off by a local mission. I had my tent and sleeping bag and a sense that I was about to become a part of something big. For the next several days I spent every waking hour and several largely sleepless nights at Westlake doing my part, and after about a week I came home and collapsed for the next two. I had learned a lot about myself and about how and where I fit into the solution. And part of that was learning how hard it can be for a woman’s voice to be heard among men.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the second among three ways I would learn this lesson in a single year. Strange when you think that I’d lived 46 years previously without really giving it much thought.
The setting for my first classroom that year–last year, 2011–was my job. After fifteen-or-so years I’d made my way back into management and was fairly happy leading a team of writers who seemed to like having me for their boss. One of the reasons for that was that I fought for them (in conference rooms where I was usually the only woman), which meant that I sometimes showed emotion. This is not to say that I yelled or cried or anything like that–only that if you were in the room, it was apparent that I felt passionately about my team and our work and how it was presented…and if I disagreed, I said so, and if I didn’t like something, I said so, and no, I’m not shy and demure, and yes, my boss did make me a little weepy one time when we were alone, I admit, BUT! When it became a “thing” that people didn’t want to “upset” me or felt they’d had “run ins” with me or whatever and I got put on official “emotion” notice, well then I realized that my problem was not (entirely) the level of emotion people were seeing from me. I looked at how these men reacted to me (vs. one another)–listened to the words they used to describe me or to explain to me why my personal style challenged them and it became clear that my biggest issue was that I was a woman in a company full of men who don’t know how to deal with a woman who hasn’t learned to “get along” in a male-dominated corporate environment. For that reason, among others, I gave up my job, and though I like and respect my former co-workers for the most part, I believe that I left behind a culture that is not particularly welcoming to women in leadership positions.
Lastly: Early this year I attended a writing conference as a professional. The panel seemed well-balanced, at first, which is sometimes a problem at this particular con (and many others), with two men and two women. Then it emerged that the other woman–the moderator–had to cancel, and at the behest of one of my co-panelists, I took over as mod. Now, I have been attending conventions as a professional for many years, and I have seen panelists take over the show and trample everyone else into the ground. This wasn’t like that. The same guy who nominated me for moderator proceeded to moderate the panel, talking over me, calling on members of the audience, encouraging participation from the other male at the table. He had decided at some point that I didn’t have anything to add, and he figured he’d man up and give the audience what they paid for, I suppose. He wasn’t a total asshole about it. He was just louder than I was. More aggressive. More forceful. And I wasn’t willing to be rude in front of an audience.
If you’ve ever been in a situation at all like this one, you know how long it takes for an hour to pass. I’m pretty sure I bit my tongue until it bled, and when I walked out I told my boyfriend, “I think I just became an Angry Feminist.”
It’s not that I think this guy was an outright misogynist. I don’t. I’d have to paint nearly everyone in that room with the same brush, because not one of them seemed to have a clue what I was going through. This guy probably thinks of himself as progressive. And that’s the problem. It’s the everyday misogyny that has become so ingrained in our culture that we don’t even notice it. Until we do, and then it’s like pregnant women or VW Beetles*: You can’t stop seeing it.
I don’t regret any of these experiences, and I’m grateful for them as a whole, because they helped bring me to the place I am today where I’ve decided that I really do have things to say and want people to hear my voice. I know that no one set out to silence me in any of the situations I described above. At my job, they just didn’t expect me to care about things that to them seemed trivial. On the panel, a guy asserted his dominance the way we’ve taught him he ought to. At Occupy, I stood surrounded by men and boys who had no concerns about whether their voices would be heard, and many talked over me while calling themselves progressive, but to their credit, some did listen when I said, “Hey, we don’t all speak so loudly or walk so tall, so listen for the quieter voices among you.”
My homecoming was finding a voice I wasn’t afraid to use. That meant creating a persona and removing the personal and professional from the philosophical to some degree. But it also meant becoming more real than I have ever been before. And each of you have been a part of that process. You who read and comment and help me make sense of all the BS. I won’t always get it right, but damn, I’m enjoying the education.
*I am not comparing pregnant women to VW Beetles. Not that it wouldn’t be apt in some cases. Like when I was pregnant.
Happy National Sammich Month! We’ve had a bit of a hiccup here on Day 1, as the Internets at Chez Sammich decided to take the day off. I’m typing this into a text editor feeling very much like a post-apocalyptic survivor hoping that someone, somewhere, someday will see my words. There’s no way to know for sure. [Message from the future/past: I had to travel back and forth through time to bring you this article! Cool, huh?]
You might be surprised to know that I have nothing planned for today. I expected I would wake up and take to the Internets for inspiration. I can’t even access my bookmarks! Can you even imagine what this is like? It’s hell, I tell you. Luckily, I realized that I don’t have to be online to compose a post for today, or I’d still be pacing around my house wringing my hands and lamenting the unfairness of it all.
OK, so National Sammich Month starts today, as we’ve already established, and I’ve learned a few interesting things about sammiches in the past week, so let’s start with one of those. Apparently (hat-tip to commenter kyorlin), each state in the U.S. has a
n official sandwich. I promise as soon as I have Internets again I’ll get you the link. [Message from the future: State Sammiches!]
I live in the state of Washington, whose sandwich I can’t tell you yet because I don’t have Internets [Message from the future: “Smoked Salmon Sandwich: Smoked salmon, cream cheese, apples, on whole wheat.*”], in the city of Seattle, whose official sandwich is coffee. I don’t eat meat (except fish sometimes, not because I think it doesn’t count, but because I’m a bad vegetarian), so a lot of the sandwiches on the list would be difficult for me to recreate, meaning it’s a good thing that my plan wasn’t to make and report on a state sandwich or two every day in August. It turns out the state sammiches were submitted to the site above by readers, so you’ll have to let us know whether you agree with your state sammich. I not only agree with mine, I kind of want to marry it.
Ahem…moving on… Other sammich-related stuff we’ll cover this month:
- Why is this site called “Make Me a Sammich”?
- The Origins of the Sammich (and of the month)
- Sammich Art
- Sandwich Trivia
- And much, much more! Probably.
I’ve been thinking about sammiches and which one I would call my favorite. Back when I ate meat, it was the French dip, hands down. I was a vegetarian for years before I discovered a good vegetarian French dip, and it is delicious, but I don’t think it’s my favorite. As much as I love girl cheese**, the thought of it doesn’t make my mouth water quite as much as the veggie sammich my mom and I invented as an answer to one very much like it that was *almost* perfect but not quite.
Here’s our recipe:
- whole-grain bread***
- raspberry vinaigrette dressing
- cream cheese
- alfalfa sprouts
- slice of preferred cheese (optional)
- *Thinly* sliced veggies:
- red onion
I’m telling you, this is a FABULOUS sammich and now my mouth really is watering. It is way past time I made one of these. Try it and let me know what you think! In fact, the next time someone tells you to make them a sammich, say “Make ME a sammich! This sammich!” and give them the recipe.
*Sammiches like this one are why I am a hypocrite.
**I also just remembered an awesome sammich I used to have when I went to community college: grilled cheese with mushrooms and alfalfa sprouts. OMGSOGOOD. It might take my beloved girl cheese sammich over the top. I’ll do a taste-test and let you know. Oh yeah! TUNA MELTS!
***I recently discovered Dave’s Killer Bread, which is *totally* killer, and I can’t wait to try it with All. The. Sammiches.
[Message from the Future: Still no Internets! Posting from secondary basecamp while it’s still officially Day 1 per Pacific time. Whew.]